We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives
Future Positive youth reporters take a unique approach to conversations on HIV and AIDS. In a radio program offered by Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF) in Partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the 45 trained youth reporters have steered away from producing traditional HIV-themed health messaging targeting behaviour change. The radio club opts rather to focus on stories of lived experiences of HIV – the challenges, the strategies for success, and the multi-layered conversations that resonate with youth.
The most successful of the interventions created by the youth project has been the monthly events at Nolungile Youth Clinic in Site C. The youth-led events look to collaborate with local artists who perform on the open microphone, in between candid talks from visiting speakers. The event is held together by an open debate allowing the youth reporters to meaningfully engage and involve visiting and clinic-using youth around the chosen topic. Some of the topics selected over the course of the project have been: “Freedom in Health,” “Imagining Our Future: a HIV free Africa,” “Loving yourself: self-love as a way to prevent infection.” This is what some of the participating youth have said about being part of the radio club:
‘I think the monthly shows do a lot of work for people outside. Because some guys think that they can’t go to the clinic…they think it’s only for ladies, females only. But when we host a show there are males and females present, so if they come they get knowledge to understand that the females come to the clinic but the males also come to the clinic. And I think we are trying to invite more people into the clinic to change their point of views, to change how they see the clinic.’ – Zuko Mkutyukelwa (20yrs)
The Future Positive youth reporters are taking on the challenge of hosting a ‘pop-up radio booth’ at the World Aids Day celebration scheduled for the 1st of December 2014 at the O.R Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha. The live talk show will include two hours of youth facilitating conversations around the topics ‘what can parents learn from their children?’ as well as ‘why are girls and boys raised differently?’
The monthly events are also a place where other civil society organisations (CSOs) are invited to participate in making the event relevant to a wider community and to create awareness of their respective services. The events have not only allowed the youth to hone their skills as leaders and educators, but have also allowed them to speak freely and share their views about health issues. It has allowed them to own the clinic space, direct their course of learning, and communicate with the nurses and staff in a way not usually available to them on a typical clinic day. The CSO partners have reflect on the benefits of being part of the Future Positive network:
‘A partneshp with Future Positive has helped in building our kids self esteem through participation in the process of being young reporters. We have also been able to network with influential people that have assisted us in our curriculum module and motivational speaking on HIV from artist like Daddy Spencer. The involvement of Future Positive in our programs has increased dialogue within our youth groups on topics related to challenges of youth in Khayelitsha.’ – Nicholas Mabulu (Ubuntu Africa)
Future Positive follows MSF’s model of community ownership and government partnership. The project has been successful in its attempt to enlist the network CSOs to co-facilitate the program. Future Positive hopes to further engage various clinics and health centres working with youth and HIV through the use of the online Learning Room, as a way to introduce the initiative and exchange ideas with peer organisations and health care facilities in different parts of the country and the continent.
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